Nexus Innovation Challenge - Curriculum

Nexus Innovation Challenge Nexus Innovation Challenge - Curriculum

2022 - 2023 Nexus Innovation Challenge - Curriculum

Your interprofessional team will identify a challenge, an opportunity, or ongoing project that requires new thinking. This eight-month longitudinal program will coach your team through the design, testing, and implementation of a solution using Design Thinking skills that are broadly useful. The flexible program includes four short modules, live team-learning sessions, individual and team consultation and coaching, time for your team to work together on your selected initiative, and an interactive presentation, feedback, and coaching session.

Elements of a successful challenge idea should include:

  1. Interprofessional collaboration among health professionals and/or other key stakeholders or sectors;
  2. Specific goal to address diversity, disparities, equity and racism;
  3. Intentional engagement of patients, families, caregivers, communities, populations; and
  4. Support of leaders within the organization committed to working toward galvanizing systemic change.

As part of the experience, all teams will be asked to define an actionable outcome for their challenge statement and share a progress report.  Important considerations for the challenge idea and defined actionable outcome include:

  • Importance to the team

  • Actionable

  • Ease of Implementation

  • Patient Family Engagement

  • Measurable Impact

Click on the sections below to read more about the Nexus Innovation Challenge Team-Based Learning Sessions. Teams are encouraged to attend all live events together. The live events will be recorded and archived for team members.

Program Kickoff Phase (July-August 2022)

Introduction to the Nexus Innovation Challenge: Principles of Design Thinking Modules

In an effort to immerse teams in the Design Thinking mindset, a series of four brief online modules will be shared with all team members.  Teams are asked to view the modules independently – or together – and then schedule time for a team debriefing to talk about what was learned.  Innovation Challenge facilitators will be available to join team debrief sessions to support the learning and reflection. The modules will explore:

  • Intro to Design Thinking
  • Empathy and Reframing the Challenge
  • Ideation and Prototyping
  • How to Pitch It

Timeline: Modules will be released for self-paced viewing in July 2022.  Teams should view the four modules and host a team debrief by August 19, 2022.

SmithGroup Coaching Session 1

The Team Leader will meet 1:1 with their SmithGroup Design Thinking Coach to make initial connections, discuss the team's challenge, and make plans for success throughout the program.

Timeline: 45-minute meeting independently scheduled between July 25 and August 20.

In Person Kickoff: Situating Your Innovation Challenge for Success: Key Concepts and Practical Tools

Session 1: 12:00-2:00 pm 

Interprofessional Practice and Education: Pursuing the Nexus in Partnership with your Clinical Learning Environment

Presented by: National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education and the National Collaborative for Improving the Clinical Learning Environment (NCICLE). 

The Nexus Innovation Challenge is designed to support teams in solving complex challenges in their own context. This workshop is designed to introduce key concepts of interprofessional practice and education as well as guiding principles to support teams in collaborative work with their clinical learning environment partners. 

National Center leaders will introduce key principles of successful Nexus (practice and education) teams, practical tools that can be used to facilitate development of a shared vision, and strategies to simultaneously work toward organizational, learning and health outcomes. 

Using the Pathways to Excellence guidance, NCICLE leaders will share strategies developed to build or strengthen infrastructure and processes that optimize both learning and patient care in clinical learning environments where individuals from various professions are actively learning and working together in the context of providing patient care. 


 Break: 2:00-2:30 pm


Session 2: 2:30-6:00 pm

Design Thinking Part 1: Setting the Stage for Design Thinking

Presented by: SmithGroup

Before diving into solutions, it is crucial to look at the challenge from a variety of stakeholder perspectives, including those not yet considered.   This three-hour workshop is intended to orient teams to the key concepts of design thinking and begin to gain insights into the challenge from a variety of perspectives.   Teams will participate in the live session together, including dedicated time for teams to work on their challenge statements.  It is important that all members of the team participate in the session as it is an important building block contributing to the design process. The Team Leader and a minimum of two other team members are expected to attend the in-person workshop at the Nexus Summit. Additional team members may participate virtually.

Design thinking facilitators will work with teams in large and small group settings to support learning and application of key concepts.

Setting the Stage for Design Thinking

Stakeholder Empathy

Reframing the Challenge

Share Your Challenge Statement

Wrap Up / Tee Up for Journey Mapping

Timeline: August 20, 2022 12:00 - 6:00 p.m. In Person at the Nexus Summit 2022 and via Zoom. The Team Leader and a minimum of two other team members must be able to participate in person and register for the Nexus Summit. A registration discount to the Nexus Summit will be available to all Innovation Challenge participants. Additional Team members may participate virtually.

Development Phase (September-October 2022)

SmithGroup Coaching Session 2

The entire team will meet together with their SmithGroup Design Thinking Coach to discuss implementing strategies learned during the Kick Off Workshop and prepare for Design Thinking Workshop 2. 

Timeline: 60-minute coaching session independently scheduled to include all team members and SmithGroup coach prior to September 28.

National Center Coaching Session

The entire team will consult with National Center leadership to focus on the interprofessional context of their challenge.

Timeline: 60-minute coaching session independently scheduled to include all team members and National Center leadership consultant prior to September 28.

Design Thinking Workshop 2: Ideation and Prototyping

As part of the application process, each team has identified a challenge statement that summarizes the intent and focus on their work. 

All challenge statements should address interprofessional collaboration as well as one of the following topics:

  1. Diversity, disparities and equity or
  2. Patients, families, caregivers, communities, populations or
  3. Galvanizing systemic change

Design thinking facilitators will work with teams in large and small group settings to support learning and application of key concepts.

Intro to the Workshop

Intro to Journey Mapping

Ideation and Prototyping (Journey Mapping)

Create the Storyboard/ Developing Actionable Plan

Wrap Up /Prep for Presentation

Timeline: September 28, 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Central Time, Zoom

Launching from the workshop exercise outcomes, teams will submit their detailed Design and Implementation Plans by October 12, 2022. The design and implementation plan will include a goal statement, summary, metrics and implementation timeline.

SmithGroup Coaching Session 3

The entire team will meet together with their SmithGroup Design Thinking Coach to review the team's implementation plan and prepare for the judging session.

Timeline: 60-minute coaching session independently scheduled to include all team members and SmithGroup coach prior to October 28.

Judging Session: Team Presentation and Feedback

Innovation Challenge teams will be invited to share their prototype solution with a panel of judges and other Innovation Challenge teams.  The panel is comprised of NCICLE members, patients/individuals/consumers, and students/learners. Each team will have the opportunity to present their idea as well as listen to the ideas of other teams.  Following the presentations, all teams are invited to participate in learning session with facilitators and expert judges to discussion overarching themes, as well as synthesize findings and lessons learned.

Session Outline

  • Teams present in front of everyone judges and other teams
  • Judging team identifies overarching themes and provides overall feedback in front of all attendees
  • Written detailed feedback provided privately to each team
  • Award for best proposal/presentation

Timeline: Week of November 7, 2022 Date and Time TBD, Zoom

Implementation Phase (November 2022 - March 2023)

NexusIPETM Learning Collaborative Sessions

Through the Implementation Phase, teams will be supported by National Center leadership with expertise in IPE implementation through two Learning Collaborative Sessions. Teams will consult together in a learning collaborative with National Center and SmithGroup leaders to share experiences, challenges, and celebrate successes as they test and refine their Challenge solutions.


Learning Collaborative meetings scheduled January 25 and February 22, 2023, Zoom

Innovation Challenge Final Team Presentations

All teams will participate in the Final Team Presentations. Teams will be asked to share updates on their progress toward their defined actionable plan and measurable outcome following a four-month implementation period. 

Timeline: March 29, 2023, time TBD, Zoom